I generally don’t meet people at their offices. I feel it’s best to get to know them in a neutral place, like a coffee shop. But Mike told me he worked in porn, and the deviant in me was intrigued. Suffice it to say, his office might as well have sold paper supplies, it was that generic. There were a few mainstream movie posters on the walls, DVD replication machines in the back, and ordinary offices and editing suites — with mezuzahs on every doorpost. He insisted that I meet him there for just that reason. “I don’t see porn as most people in the mainstream world [would]. It’s like I’m selling toilets. It’s just a product. And it’s something I know how to do better than anyone else. To me, it’s all the same — whether it’s power tools, sinks or toilets. We’re a professional company.”
Mike was born and raised in Connecticut “in a very rich family. Kind of like the Beverly Hills of the East Coast. My brother owns a pediatric practice. My mom owns a kosher travel agency. If you want to go to China and you’re a Chasidic Jew, she’ll set up all the kosher tours. And somehow I ended up in the porn business.”
When he was 18, he moved to Los Angeles with a girl he was dating. He took a job working for a smoke shop distributor, which led him to another job with a porn video and distribution business. He quickly learned the ropes, and when he saw that the owner wanted to diversify, Mike started up the replication side. “I wanted to get back to video and distribution, so I started my company, Monarchy. I own seven studios. The business just kind of blew up. We’re at the top of the industry right now. We move more product than anyone else. Life is pretty good.”
Mike’s a very hardworking guy — he seems smart, and he clearly has the business head to be successful, and not just in the pornography business. “In 10 years, when I’m 35 … I’d like to diversify and start some other companies that aren’t porn-related.” Restaurants and real estate interest him. He owns a house in the Valley, plus a vacation home in San Diego in an avocado orchard.
“I’m actually pretty traditional. I like the simple things in life. It’s weird, you writing up what I do, because I don’t really put myself on Front Street a lot and talk about working in the porn business, because it’s a taboo field, and people have their automatic opinion about it. Frankly, I’m just a businessman. It’s what I do; it’s a product I sell.”
Mike has a son he’s very close to — and an ex-wife, as well. He’s very mature for a 25-year-old. But it’s what also makes it hard for him to date. “There aren’t a lot of 25-year-olds with kids. That’s why my last relationship ended. She said, ‘You have a lot of baggage: You work in porn, you have a kid.’ So it’s hard to find someone to look past everything and see you for you.”
“I’d say business is a big hobby of mine — coming up with new ideas and implementing them. To me, it’s like having another child. Business is another child.”
Mike also likes hiking in Azusa, and he goes to Runyon Canyon twice a month.
“I just started going to services again. I went the last couple of weeks to the Chabad in Toluca Lake. The rabbi’s a cool guy.”
“My strength is motivation. When I set my mind to something, I not only do it, but I always succeed at it. And if I’m not succeeding at it, I make myself succeed at it.”
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Seth Menachem is an actor and writer living in Los Angeles with his wife and daughter. You can see more of his work on his Web site, sethmenachem.com, and meet even more single peeps at mysinglepeeps.com.